Lined with historic, Art Deco buildings, the streets of Koreatown in Los Angeles demand stopping for an Instagram. Food is second to none in this neighborhood, where diners sip single-origin coffees, slice into killer Korean-American fusion plates or enjoy congee in a rooftop greenhouse.
Roy Choi’s impact on the American food scene is undeniable. Food & Wine awarded him “Best New Chef” for his Korean taco truck, Kogi, in 2010; now you can dine at his newest brick-and-mortar spot. It’s one of the coolest designs in LA—a rooftop, glass greenhouse with crawling vines, exposed air ducts and views of the Line Hotel’s pool. For those with huge appetites (or suffering from the previous night’s decisions), Choi suggests the Brioche Eggs Benedict and a helping of congee (rice porridge) topped with a poached egg and served with pickles. The cocktails shine as brightly as the food. We like the Gin & Juice, with your pick of fresh-squeezed watermelon, carrot or pineapple. 3515 Wilshire Blvd., thelinehotel.com
IOTA Brew Café
If you’re in a group that can’t decide between a chill coffee house, a full-on restaurant or a great bar for a stiff drink, IOTA has an answer for everyone. The modern fusion plates are beautifully composed, with creative appetizers like an Asian take on waffles with eggs, shrimp, mayo and cabbage. Heftier options include the Korean Kimchi Burger, with fermented cabbage layered on top of the ground beef and American cheese. Have a green tea icy shake, a sweet snow ice milk bowl or a single-origin Guatemalan siphoned coffee.528 Western Ave., iotabrewcafe.com
HAUS by Coffee Hunter
The patio at HAUS is prime for people-watching, but inside, the K-Pop-styled staff and cheeky music videos on the flat-screen provide equal entertainment. The restaurant is owned by Korean food television star Chris Kim, and coffee lovers will rejoice in a gigantic listing of java options, with rare, rotating selections from Laos, Guatemala and Ethiopia. The menu also gives balanced play to sweet (Nutella Latte, anyone?) and savory fusion: Try the Spicy & Sweet Soy Marinated Hanger Steak, a hearty dish packed with protein (two farm fresh eggs are cooked to your liking) complete with a dash of Korean flavor in the Gochujang BBQ sauce. 3826 W. 6th St., hauscoffeehunter.com
Late Night Bite
Crushed it at karaoke? Grab some Chicken Skin Cracklins and a Baby Gaga IPA at Beer Belly. Then take your party over to Café Jack to give the night a Titanic send-off. No, seriously. The restaurant is a thematic, gigantic ship named for Leo DiCaprio’s character. Try the Titanic Roll (that’s a crunch roll with spicy tuna) or share the Rose and Jack roll with the person you’d like to float on a door with most.